KARACHI: The protest by resident officers and postgraduates at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital has entered its ninth day while the hospital administration and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) have remained silent so far. Over 300 doctors have been deprived of their salaries for the past three months, which led them to boycott the outpatient departments (OPDs) due to which patients coming in from far-flung areas had to face severe hardships.
The doctors expanded the scope of their protest as their demands remained unheard despite nine days of demonstrations and closed the OPD gate. Carrying banners and shouting slogans, the protesters organised a sit-in in front of the hospital's main gate, which blocked the road and created a traffic jam.
The anguished patients, who were left unattended, lamented that they had arrived at the health facility after paying transport fares only to see that the doctors were on a strike. The problems of doctors with the management have led the common man to suffer as no one is there to attend the ones in pain, they said. They demanded the government to resolve the issue so that the patients could avail treatment on time.
Meanwhile, the doctors said that the city mayor and hospital administration were exhibiting extreme negligence even after nine days of protest. The deliberations held with the mayor on Friday were unsuccessful as they were asking for more time and making false promises of settling dues within a month. In the last meeting, the mayor had asked for time until March 26 and committed that salaries of one month and seven days will be released but still not a single rupee has been paid.
The protesters further said that if the mayor could not meet their demands immediately, then he must give them written assurance and a specific date for the payment of salaries. The emergency ward is open but the responsibility of the trouble caused to patients visiting OPDs is on the hospital administration and KMC, they said.
The demands of the doctors include payment of three months' outstanding salaries, current month due salary, timely payment of salaries in future and implementation on the notification regarding increase in salaries of the doctors.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2019.
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